US Catholic Faith in Real Life

Immigration reform pronounced "dead"

By Caitlyn Schmid | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
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Some disturbing news has come from both sides of the political spectrum today. Immigration reform—a hot-button issue that the Obama administration has been pushing to Congress for the past two years—has allegedly been pronounced “dead.”

Legislators have been unable to come to a decision to please both Republicans and Democrats, and therefore the reform is halted until President Obama leaves office. The time has run out, according to the Washington Post, as tomorrow (Friday, June 27) marks the one-year anniversary of the Senate’s approval of a comprehensive immigration bill.

This is indeed troubling, as it leaves the country’s estimated 12 million immigrants to wait for a status update or deportation. This includes many women and children among other vulnerable populations who seek refuge from violence and oppression in their homelands by fleeing to the United States or who want to lead a better life.

“Nothing’s going to happen,” Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) said of the inability for the sides to work together to find an equal ground on the issue. “Every day, [the Republicans] become not recalcitrant, but even more energetically opposed to working with us.” (Read more from Gutierrez on immigration reform in an interview from our August 2012 issue.)

Shortly after news of immigration reform being dead until further notice, the journal Politico reported that Vice President Joe Biden is holding a private meeting this afternoon to talk about the topic with a select group of individuals. Among the attendees is Jim Wallis, the president and founder of the Christian magazine Sojourners. The parties may not be working on the issue in the House, but there are things stirring still.

Everyday Catholics are also fighting for the rights of immigrants and refuse to give up even with the House’s standstill. For example, our June 2014 In Person Ana Aguayo grew up as an undocumented immigrant and now fights for worker justice of immigrants in northwest Arkansas.

In the Juneau Empire, Bishop Edward J. Burns of the Diocese of Juneau called for urgency in immigration reform as well. He is not the only vocal bishop on the subject.

We must not give up hope in helping these immigrants. If the topic is dead in the House, we must continue to push so that new laws can resurface and pass as quickly as possible. And as Christians, we must continuously ask ourselves: Are we acting toward foreigners with the justice that God hopes we do? Are we reflections of God’s mercy to every human being? Do we love our neighbor as ourselves?